After more than three months of shows and dozens of candidates, the Israeli selection for Tel Aviv 2019 is about to reach to its climax on Tuesday at 20:15 CET. The public will decide who will represent the Eurovision 2019 host nation in the Grand Final on 18 May. So let’s meet meet the four finalists and try to assess who will raise the Israeli flag.

We’re running a 24-hour flash poll below. You can vote for as many acts as you’d like, but you can only vote one time. In our description of the acts below, we reference figures from “Eurovision 2019 — Tel Aviv” — a large Israeli Eurovision fan Facebook group — to help give you a sense of local sentiment.

Who should sing for Israel at Eurovision 2019?

Maya Buskila

The most famous singer this season is — without question —  Maya Buskila. She is 41 and carries more than 15 years of professional experience, including four albums and two massive hits in Israel. When it comes to Eurovision, she’s frequently been reported to have been under consideration in the past. Her background as a singer, alongside her huge vocals and dream of representing Israel, have made her a hot favourite to win The Next Star. But with a very strong line-up this year, it’s hard to predict her chances.

During the season she’s had some unforgettable performances such as “Rise Like A Phoenix” and “A Million Voices” (the latter got her to the final). However, according to a poll among more than 1,200 Israeli Eurovision fans, she’s currently ranked last (4/4) to win the ticket for Tel Aviv. We will have to wait until tomorrow and to see whether the general public agrees or disagrees with the fans.

Watch Maya’s cover for “A Million Voices” (originally performed by Polina Gagarina, Russia’s representative at Eurovision 2015).

Kobi Marimi

Kobi’s first audition drew both the public and the media’s attention. So much so that he was crowned the next Freddie Mercury. Kobi is perhaps the most interesting performer this season and one who — according to Israeli media — can secure Israel a top 5 placing. Curiously, he had been eliminated during the quarter-final but then won “a second chance” thanks to a stunning performance of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door”. Looks like God answered!

Kobi is currently ranked first to win The Next Star 2019 among Israeli fans with almost 500 votes.

Ketreyah

She’s only 22 and she’s got it all! Voice, appearance, dancing skills and style. She belongs to a very small community in Israel which is called “The Black Hebrew Israelites” or simply the “Black Hebrews” or “Black Israelites”. These are groups of African-Americans who believe that they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Ketreyah has been one of the most stable artists this season with very high scores throughout. She’s also a native English speaker and when she sings, it sounds international. Ketreyah is currently ranked third to win The Next Star 2019 among Israeli fans.

Shefita

Rotem Shefi, 27, is the dark horse of the season. She performs as a special character whom she created aka “Shefita” — an exaggerated Arab Diva from a land Dumbai (with an M) who “got stuck” in Israel. She deploys a heavy accent and a funny, even vulgar, attitude. Shefita is quite the mix of great actress and impressive singer, and she is so convincing that you can’t really tell she’s a character. Some see her as a joke, while others think she is perfect for Eurovision. As we mentioned previously, it is not easy to relate to her art and there was also criticism about it. In fact, at the beginning of the season she had been eliminated and was only able to proceed because the hosts saved her. But as the season progressed, she’s become one of the most liked candidates and is now considered a front-runner to win the contest. One of the most common comments about her in social media is that this year Israel must send an outstanding artist because host nations rarely succeed on the table. With Shefita it’s a risk that can either entitle Israel to a first or last place ranking.

The following candidates were eliminated in recent weeks:

– Danielle Mazuz
– Tay
– Ofri Calfon
– Daniel Barzilay
– Shalva Band (withdrew due to Shabbat)
– Avraham De Carvalho

The final of the Next Star will take place on Tuesday at 20:15 CET, after which we will know who will represent Israel and join the other 18 countries which have already announced their candidates. The song will be chosen later.

Who do you think has the best chance to win tomorrow? Do you think that this year’s host country will enjoy a better ranking than the last couple of years? Tell us what you think in the comments section below!

Comments on this post are now closed.

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Leo
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Leo

S H E F I T A

dragvision
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dragvision

Shefita all the life she is so funny in the arabic daiva role

Miguel
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Miguel

Shefita somehow managed to reach the final. i have a feeling the prodution was pushing her and Kobi’s presence in the final for audience purposes… Not that it bothers me, i love Shefita’s performances. She is the one i am rooting for! Being realistic…. This is a 2-on-2 duel between Maya and Kitria. Watching the show i feel they want Maya to win, but the public wants Kitria more so… It will be a though call. All 4 are very talented and worthy winners. Kobi and Shefita would do better in Tel Aviv. They are unique and stand out. Maya… Read more »

gilpgilp
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gilpgilp

Ketreyahhhhhhhh! Maya would be good too.

Héctor
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Héctor

Ketreyah would by choice.

Thomas
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Thomas

I cannot wait to see if the Israelis choose Shefita, THEN have to explain to Bilal and Mahmood why they chose an exaggerated stereotype.

Gili
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Gili

Shefita is all about fun love peace and respect to the Arabic music…whoever says the opposite is misleading regarding the character of shefita. ..people will always try to find the bad and not the good in these situations

LawStudent
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LawStudent

Shefita might think that that’s what she’s all about but she can’t control how she’s perceived by others. Some will certainly find her campy parody an attempt at ridicule. Even if it’s not true that fact alone should be the reason why we don’t send her especially not on the year where Israel is the host and there are all these BDS protests…

Frisian esc
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Frisian esc

To be honest, it would be pretty funny to trigger those bds protesters. They’ll probably put up a scene regardless in may xD

Ana
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Ana

Yeah, fun. It will be a lot of fun to see her drowning in accusations of racism. She’s a half baked act with clear racist touches, but she never bothered to think about it, she was too busy to get any attention she can.

Steven
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Steven

In my humble opinion, Shefita is bringing a lot of new respect for Arabic music and culture. Your annoying political correctness has absolutely no justification here. Chill out people!

Loin dici
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Loin dici

After rethinking about it, I’m still picking Ketreyah, but anybody winning could be good, as long as:
1. Ketreyah or Maya will be given a song they could work vocally and emotionally, while preferring English for Ket and Hebrew for Maya;
2. Shefita will be given a song entertaining enough for the audiences but serious enough to make her a contender, close to the feel of ‘Golden Boy’ or ‘Toy’ perhaps;
3. Kobi can bring us our first Hebrew operatic ballad, perhaps, or any operatic ballad of choice.

Nitzan
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Nitzan

Well not our first. We had that in 2004 (unfortunately).

gilpgilp
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gilpgilp

Yup – Kobi is another David D’or

Dddd
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Dddd

Kobi is nothing like David D’or
Pfff

Gili
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Gili

Kobi is not an opera singer.. he is a mix of pop and kind of opera but not really…something like Freddie Mercury was

Loin dici
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Loin dici

Yeah, he can bring any operatic ballad of choice. Maybe some rock theatrics could work.

Idan
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Idan

He is not an opera singer,but he was in the cast of the Magic Flute by Mozart not so long ago,so he can sing opera also very well

Anonymous
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Anonymous

Shefita shouldn’t represent Israel for the simple reason that racism has no place in Eurovision. A caricature of a vulgar Arab woman that speaks crude English in an exaggerated accent reinforces the racist stereotypes that Arabs are uneducated and violent. I was surprised to read that Wiwibloggs think that “she is so convincing that you can’t really tell she’s a character”. Does this mean that Wiwibloggs think that Arabs really talk and behave in this way?

Gili
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Gili

Come on…ifffff….shefita is the total opposite of racism. Did you ever ask her what she is representing? She represent peace in the middle East…love…respect for the Arabic music..fun…..people are bored and trying to find the bad in any situation when it comes to Israel…get a life

Anonymous
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Anonymous

How does deliberately speaking bad English represent peace in the Middle East, love, or respect? If you can answer this question, I’m happy to change my mind.

Someone
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Someone

She actually speaks perfect English, only with an Arabic accent. And you know what she said about it?? She said she only speaks that way because she thinks is sexy!
So… you can change your mind now 😉

Anonymous
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Anonymous

She makes deliberate and very prominent pronunciation mistakes that Arabic speakers wouldn’t make even with an Arabic accent, like saying the sound `ayn everywhere. You’re welcome to listen to Arabs speak English and see for yourself. So I still don’t see how making deliberate mistakes while pretending to be an Arab woman is respectful towards Arabs or promotes peace. It seems like blatant racism.

Gili
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Gili

She says what I mentioned in her interviews so unless you call her a lier just because you feel like you should understand that shefita is all about positivity…and her English is perfect..little bit of humor didn’t kill anyone…she even cried when one of the judges said to her after a number she did : ” you are doing an honor to the Arabic music in your numbers”, if this doesn’t say it all I don’t know what does

Or H.
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Or H.

she is racist as hell #blackface

Gili
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Gili

Maybe you are..shefita is love

Joh
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Joh

I can’t tell whether this comment is sarcastic or not… I hope it is

Ana
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Ana

Gili, you can bang your head against the wall as much as you want, facts are facts and Europeans are sensitive to this kind of racist representation. You can say that they are heavy and hippocrates, but in the end THEY are the ones who will vote. And it’s not gonna be good. Literally ANYONE is a better choice for Eurovision than her. Deal with it.

gilpgilp
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gilpgilp

Ana – totally agree.

gili
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gili

indeed europe is so hypocrite when it comes to israel. its not all about winning, its about being free to send what ever you like as a country, especially when you know that you send someone that do NOT represent racism. the opposite is the truth….i trust shefita on interviews to kicj anybody in the ass

Ana
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Ana

Gili, Israel f*cking won thanks to the public vote last year. This ”Europe hates Israel” coments are irrelevant. Seriously you are still using this argument?
Shafita sounds like a moron when asked any question. That’s part of her act, or she just hides behind silly, irrelevant arguments, like you are, because she doesnt have anything smart to say.

gili
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gili

Shefita is super smart…she is a moron??? return to movie you are living in.
and europe politically wise is hypocrite eventhough israel won last year…if its because
they have no clue what happens in the middle east or due to the fact that they are affraid from the muslims
in their own countries which are statring to occupy them quietly it doesnt matter, they are and remained hypocrite

Ana
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Ana

You are a typical schyzofrenic Israeli that hates the Europeans and in the same time wants their love and approval. Why does your country spending all this money to impress the Europeans if they are such pieces of sh*t? Eurovision is a European thing, If you have problems with Europeans, don’t f*cking participate or chill the f*ck up.

gili
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gili

dont put words in my mouth, i dont hate anyone, just mentioning how the european goverments are acting due to different reasons regarding israel and i certailey dont think that all europeans hate israel. i am a proud israel and i need no love and approval from no one. i know who i am kapish?

NatFromBelg
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NatFromBelg

Shefita is about crazyness, being out of the box and about love for music. Shefita is who she always wanted to be. She is a person which she created. Her love towards Arab music is bigger than your thoughts about racism. The way she creates music is fascinating. Don’t forget that she is exaggerating very hard now just to get to the Eurovision. Once she is in Tel Aviv, she will probs be more balanced and funnier rather than vulgar. Whenever I see her in an episode of the rising star, I have to laugh and I can not stop… Read more »

Dddd
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Dddd

Only people screaming racism about shafita are close minded Israelis. She’s definitely all about honoring the Arab culture and bringing it to the mainstream. That’s the effort and it’s a welcomed one

Dddd
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Dddd

I live in Europe, not Israel

Ana
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Ana

I live in Europe too. But are you an Israeli?

Jonas
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Jonas

Do the embedded videos in this article not work or is it just me?

Isr
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Isr

SHEFITA!!

Patrick
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Patrick

Kobi all the way ?

ESCFan2009
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ESCFan2009

Maya <3

Dddd
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Dddd

Ketreyah is so forgettable, I really don’t get the hype in the comment section

Dddd
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Dddd

Downvote me all you want, it won’t change the fact she’s not as good of a singer as maya is and can’t control the stage as good as kobi or even shafita. Forgettable.

Maya G
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Maya G

They should have gone with Tay, She’s incredible and deserved a place in the final.
Of the four finalists I’d like to see either Shefita or Ketreyah in Tel Aviv, but Kobi is also good and can do well with the right song.
Maya is such a tired cliché, hope she doesn’t win it.

Sal
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Sal

Kobi was already eliminated so I don’t think he should (or will) win.
Shefita would be interpreted horribly by the European audience… wrongly so but I think we all want to avoid that kind of drama!
Maya would be a good solid choice but I am rooting for Ketriyaaaaaaahhhhh #celebratediversity

dragvision
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dragvision

Shefyta all the life

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

(From Israel) For me, it’s either Maya or Ketreyah I’m super mad at them for being more of a reality show chasing viewers and money rather than being a serious selection for the Israeli singer at Eurovision They cannot just decide to have a wildcard at the end of the competition (during semi finals) and not even make it a fair shot They should have announced they would have a wildcard in the first episode of the show, but no, they want people to watch so they brought back their favourite He was eliminated, there’s a reason for that, he’s… Read more »

gili
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gili

they annouced before the season even started, you are wrong. and the winner will be kobi so you are wrong again(:

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

If they really announced it, then I’m truly sorry. Do you have a link to it?
But how can I possibly be wrong at something which hasn’t happened yet?
The winner definitely might be Kobi as he has a very strong fanbase but anything can still happen

gili
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gili

just for example: https://www.israelhayom.co.il/article/581477
it was published all around the media. actually this specific episode was suppoded to be broadcast in KAN but eventually broadcasted in channel 12

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

You’re definitely right, my bad 🙂
They should have given the option to more than 2 people though :\

Loin dici
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Loin dici

But I concur that placing a wildcard in the semifinals was questionable if it was only to bring Kobi up. I mean, if they decided for a wildcard for the semifinal, why didn’t they bring Danielle Mazuz too?

gili
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gili

or kobi

NickC
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NickC

I would like to see the songs that they will be given first.

Teeks
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Teeks

Mostly I’m gutted Avraham went 🙁

KETREYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH
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KETREYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

He deserved it, but the judges have been dragging Shefita along all season. Six saves has to be a record for this show.

Shim
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Shim

SHEFITA!!! she takes music to a new level.
unlike the rest who can be like the othe competitors.

Jeremy
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Jeremy

Shefita or Ketriyah !!!

Laula
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Laula

‘inhales’ KETREYAAAAAAAAH

srulik
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srulik

Anyone but kobi…

gili
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gili

kobi is amazing!!!

Mika
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Mika

I want Shefita to win and they send an Arabic-themed song to the contest. I’d love that. But Maya and Ketreyah are both really good options too. Personally, I don’t like Kobi that much, but that’s my opinion

NoGeoblocks
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NoGeoblocks

Kobi should win. Every time he opens his mouth to sing i melt. And i don’t like opera. but he is magic.
If not him then Shefita should go. it a risky choice, but she is an amazing singer and the total package when it comes to performance. Good luck to everyone!

LawStudent
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LawStudent

Shefita and Kobi will not get Israel good results on ESC – they are way too divisive. Kobi brings an opera style of performance which Eurovision fans fail to relate to and tend to poorly vote for on the night. Shefita is too much of a comedian-singer, and her style of comedy/parody can be misconstrued and confused for ridicule, which is the last thing Israel can afford to do this year. Israel should send either Maya or Ketreyah (I prefer the latter). Both of them can potentially win (depending on the right song), but are more likely to just do… Read more »

NoGeoblocks
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NoGeoblocks

Kobi or Shefita can get Israel a good result BECAUSE they are divisive. Those who dislike them can’t vote against them in Eurovision, but those who love them looooove them!

Shim
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Shim

not agree at all!
shefita is a special artist who bring something new – something that really represent israel – Arabic style music. she is a real artist with courage to take classic rock songs and turn them into a SHOW!
for me… thats Eurovision.

sjkdfhsdf
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sjkdfhsdf

She’s not Arab though. The entire performance comes across as a mockery of an ethnic group her country has poor relations with.

Roy Moreno
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Roy Moreno

Completely agree
I really hope we don’t pick Kobi

Loin dici
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Loin dici

Kobi could have a chance to bring popera justice (Italy 2015) but I found him rather one-dimensional to work with. Shefita is a big hit or miss depending on how people would perceive her. Maya has an amazing stage presence but isn’t effective with English songs, while Ket has a competent singing skill but she can get bigger than the song itself. Each has their own plus and minus, I guess.

gilpgilp
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gilpgilp

Oh come on you can’t compare Kobi’s ability to Il Voli 2015. It’s not in the same galaxy.

Loin dici
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Loin dici

It’s not as straightforward, though, Il Volo is an example of a popera done well in the competition, so I’m using it as an example.

gilpgilp
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gilpgilp

100% agree with this. Except KAN does not need to host next year if Israel wins. They can pass it to another country like in 1979.

Apple
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Apple

Ketreyahhhhh

gili
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gili

kobi or shefita….hard decision

Polegend Godgarina
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shefita would provide the entertainment we deserve

aaron
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aaron

Don’t really care, Israel do tend to select good songs.